Skip to main content
Faculty/Staff Resources
Nutritional Sciences
Search search
Mobile Search:


  • Research grants awarded in the Department of Nutritional Sciences during 2011-12 totaled $6.2 million. The department received an additional $24.3 million from Pennsylvania Nutrition Education Network funds.
  • Faculty members in the department published 86 peer-reviewed articles, seven book chapters, and one book over the same period.
  • Anne Corr retired as foods lab instructor on August 31, 2012. She joined the department in 1996 and was widely recognized for her culinary skills.
  • New lobby furnishings for Chandlee Lab are being purchased with the gracious support of the Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni Society.
  • Brenda Eissenstat, instructor and student adviser, was awarded the 2012 Evelyn R. Saubel Faculty Award by the College of Health and Human Development.
  • Marie Kamp, instructor and dietetic internship director, received the 2012 Pennsylvania Dietetic Association's Dietetic Educator of the Year Award.
  • Graduate student, Nicholas McCormick, has been awarded a prestigious Kligman Fellowship for 2012-13.

Childhood Obesity Prevention Training (COPT) program news

The COPT program has admitted four new fellows this year—three from nutritional sciences and one from human development and family studies—making our full complement of fellows equal to nine. All five second-year fellows attended the Obesity Society Meeting in San Antonio, Texas, from September 20-24; two made oral presentations and three presented posters. During the past year, two oral and 16 poster presentations, and five peer-reviewed publications were made or are in progress by COPT fellows. Katherine Balantekin’s poster won third place at the 2012 Spring Graduate Exhibition and at the 2012 Penn State Diabetes and Obesity Research Summit.

New faculty members

  • Kristi Branstetter joined the department in August 2012 as foods lab instructor. She received a bachelor's degree from the University of Northern Colorado and trained at the Auguste Escoffier School of Culinary Arts in Boulder, Colorado, and at the Université du Vin in Provence, France.
  • Jackie Vernarell joined the department in August 2012 as instructor of nutritional sciences. She received a bachelor's degree from Skidmore College, a master's degree from Georgetown University, and a Ph.D. degree from the Boston University School of Medicine. Most recently, she has been engaged in post-doctoral training at Penn State.

Catharine Ross Leads Research Experience for High-School Students

Catharine Ross, professor of nutrition occupant of Dorothy Foehr Huck Chair,, participated last summer in a research experience for high-school students sponsored by the Office of Educational Equity and the Summer Experience in the Eberly College of Science (SEECoS). Three Pennsylvania high-school students, one each from the Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, and Philadelphia areas, took part in a six-week Upward Bound Math and Science (UBMS) program that included laboratory research. "Team J," one of 20 teams this year, studied the effect of high carbohydrates on lipid accumulation in liver cells. The students were mentored by Rachel Bloom, a junior in nutritional sciences, who received a summer fellowship for her mentorship. Graduate students Katherine Restori, Lei Hao, and Sarah Owusu provided technical support and backup for the project. Team J presented its research to the entire UBMS program on July 25 and received the third place SeeCoS award at the achievement banquet.(L-R) Rachel Bloom, Christopher Hallager, Jazmin Slaughter,
Michael Willoughby, Catharine Ross.

New Options and Emphases in the Nutritional Sciences Curriculum for Fall 2012

To meet the needs of students with interests in applied nutrition who seek career pathways other than dietetics, the Department of Nutritional Sciences is pleased to announce that students will now be able to earn a certificate in one of four areas of emphasis:

  • public health nutrition and policy
  • nutrition and food in business
  • community nutrition and food security
  • nutrition education and communication

Furthermore, students will be able to choose from three options:

  • Applied Sciences
  • Basic Sciences
  • Dietetics

The new Applied Sciences option curriculum has core requirements, but also provides the option of selecting one of the emphases or a combination of emphases to tailor the curriculum to the career goals of students. Students in the new Applied Sciences option will not be eligible to apply to a dietetic internship without additional coursework. 

The Dietetics option is designed for students with an interest in becoming a Registered Dietitian (R.D.). In addition to the courses required in the old Applied Sciences option, students will complete a pre-professional field experience in nutrition; probably in the summer of their junior year. If they want to demonstrate strength in one area of nutrition, students in the Dietetics option also can complete an emphasis. Graduates of this option meet the academic requirements of the Accreditation Council in Nutrition and Dietetics (ACEND) and are eligible to apply for the Internship Program in Nutrition and Dietetics. 

Announcements / Upcoming Events

Metabolic Research Kitchen Open House

To celebrate the opening of the new Metabolic Research Kitchen, an open house and reception will be held on Wednesday, November 7, 2012, from 4:00-5:00 p.m. in Chandlee Lab, room 311.

Graduate Research Symposium to be rescheduled

The Annual Graduate Research Symposium and Recruiting Event, originally scheduled for September 28-29, 2012, has been canceled while we explore alternative timing for early in the spring semester.

Faculty Search

Nutrition and the Microbiome in Health and Disease

The Department of Nutritional Sciences at Penn State invites applications for an open rank tenure/tenure-track position that will focus on the role of the microbiome in health and disease. Preference will be given to candidates with laboratory analytic and/or computational skills for assessment of the microbiome through “omics-” (genomics, proteomics, and metabolomics) based approaches. Potential topics of interest include, but are not limited to, obesity, diabetes, cancer, malnutrition, oral health, inflammatory bowel disease, microbial metabolites of dietary components, modification of the microbiome through dietary and other interventions including pre- and probiotics, and perinatal acquisition of microflora in relation to epigenetics and fetal programming.

Interested candidates should submit a letter of application, a curriculum vitae, and a personal statement addressing their interests and vision regarding research and teaching, along with the names, titles, and email addresses of three professional references who may be contacted. Please address materials to:

Microbiome Search Committee
c/o Julie Brenneman
Department of Nutritional Sciences
College of Health and Human Development
110 Chandlee Laboratory
University Park, PA 16802


Please indicate “Microbiome Search” in the subject line of email correspondence. See for further details.

Record Number of Undergraduates Apply and Are Accepted to Dietetic Internships

Seventy-two percent of the Penn State undergraduate students who applied for dietetic internships were accepted in the 2012 spring and post-match. The number of undergraduate students applying to dietetic internships increased 30 percent from last year’s applications. Students were accepted into internship programs at the following institutions:

  • Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center
  • Penn State
  • ARAMARK facilities in Pennsylvania
  • Ohio State University
  • University of Maryland
  • The Sage Colleges Distance Dietetic Internship
  • Indiana University of Pennsylvania
  • Sodexo facilities in Pennsylvania
  • Geisinger Medical Center
  • Several others in the local region and throughout the country.

Congratulations to our fall 2011 and spring 2012 graduates!

Former Undergraduate, Emma Cowie, Awarded Maryland Dietetic Association EM McCollum Scholarship

Emma Cowie, a 2011 graduate of the Nutritional Sciences Applied Science option was awarded the EM McCollum scholarship offered by the Maryland Dietetic Association. This is a $1,000 scholarship for students who are completing their internships. Emma completed a National Institutes of Health internship in the summer of 2012. She started her first job as a pediatric intensive care unit and inborn errors of metabolism dietitian at Children's National Medical Center. Congratulations Emma!

Message From the Nutrition and Dietetics Alumni Society (NDAS)

Congratulations to NDAS alumni, Matthew Hayes '06g NUTR and Jill Jayne '04 NUTR, for winning two of the four annual awards presented by the College of Health and Human Development. Hayes will be honored with the Emerging Professional Graduate Degree Award. He led a team of researchers at the University of Pennsylvania to identify, for the first time, the neurological and cellular signaling mechanisms that contribute to satiety. Jayne will be honored with the Emerging Professional Undergraduate Degree Award. She is the one-and-only “Rock Star Nutritionist” and owns Note to Health, a media company that provides nutrition education and physical activity (dance) with catchy tunes that teach children how to lead healthier lives.

The annual NDAS brunch will be held on Sunday, April 14, at 11:00 a.m. at the Nittany Lion Inn. In addition to an update from the Department Head, Gordon Jensen, Barbara Rolls, professor of nutritional sciences and Helen A. Guthrie Chair in Nutritional Sciences, will speak to us on “Feeling Full on Fewer Calories." Rolls is the author of The Ultimate Volumetrics Diet, a weight-management plan that is based on the science of satietyShe will explain the latest research on how the density of calories in foods affects how much you eat, and will show you how to make food choices that will fill you up while cutting calories. Learn how to use these proven techniques to develop a healthy eating pattern that will ensure optimal nutrition while managing body weight.

— Sandra Schlicker, president NDAS

Alumni Awards

Paula Leuenberger
NDAS Award

Matthew Hayes
HHD Emerging Professional - Graduate Degree Award

Jill Jayne
HHD Emerging Professional - Undergraduate Degree Award